September 15, 2014

Kosher Shoppers are King

In the past few weeks, I have visited more than a dozen kosher supermarkets in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. I have been to large upscale exclusive supermarkets, supermarkets that have impressive kosher sections, large kosher supermarkets that offer discount prices, discount stores like Costco and Wal-Mart, and small mom/pop grocery stores. The upshot of it all is that there has never been a better time to shop kosher. Not only does the kosher shopper have unprecedented choices of where to shop, but there has never been such a vast array of products for every palate. I met shoppers that stocked up on ingredients with an i-Pad or magazine with a kosher section in front of them in preparation of actually preparing one of the recipes. There were shoppers who enjoyed the many ready to cook products and then there were those whose lifestyle dictated take out and frozen dinners.

I asked one woman in her 60’s how shopping has changed for her and her response was truly amazing: “My mother used to use the expression of being like a kid in a candy store. It is truly the way I feel these days. There is absolutely nothing missing.” I can relate to that, having seen this transformation and even better, having played a significant role in this dramatic change. I am amazed at the creativity and the understanding of good food, something that was sorely lacking years ago. We just simply inherited foods back then and dared not experiment with the new and creative. Today, those dishes from “der alte heim” are still there but they do not define the kosher palate in any way. So chicken soup and stuffed cabbage live on but alongside aged quality meats and even Sushi. And the most encouraging part of this change is that I feel that the best is yet to come.